Spring snow closes US schools, cancels flights

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 25, 2013 at 3:08 pm •  Published: March 25, 2013

HAMBURG, Pa. (AP) — Five days into spring, warm weather and budding flowers were just a rumor Monday as the East Coast endured another blast of winter.

A wide-ranging storm that buried parts of the Midwest weakened as it moved east but still managed to carpet lawns and fields in a fresh layer of white. Many schools opened late or closed early, and hundreds of flights were canceled.

The cold temperatures and miserable mixture of snow and rain had people longing for more agreeable weather.

"I'm ready for flip flops," said Jessica Cunitz, 24 of Westchester County, N.Y., who stopped at a gas station along Interstate 78 in Pennsylvania to fill her overheating car with antifreeze. "It's supposed to be spring."

In Maryland, Michael Pugh donned a wool coat, knit cap, waterproof pants and heavy boots to trudge more than a mile through four inches of wet snow to his bank in downtown Hagerstown, about 70 miles west of Baltimore. He pronounced the weather "dreadful."

By this time of year, "I was hoping it'd be sunny and the weather breaking," said Pugh, a warehouse worker who turned 38 Monday. "Every day I think I can pack up the winter coat, and break out the spring clothes, and I can't."

Earlier, the storm walloped the Midwest, dumping a record 17 inches in Springfield, Ill., and a foot or more elsewhere in the state. Travel remained treacherous Monday afternoon, with Interstate 55 and 57 still covered in snow and ice, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Numerous vehicles were reported to be off roads, according to Illinois state police.

In downtown Springfield, coffee-shop manager Mike Zengilani said food-delivery trucks were hours late. But he didn't think about closing.

"Everyone else closes, so it's good for us to be open," Zengilani said. "It's Monday, it's definitely slower, but we all made the effort to come in."

The system was little more than a nuisance by the time it reached the East Coast. Air travel saw the biggest impact, with nearly 600 flights canceled as of Monday afternoon, according to the FlightAware tracking service. Hardest-hit airports included those in New York, Philadelphia and Washington.